“Ivan Mazepa and his age: history, culture, national memory” (15–17 October 2008, Kyiv – Poltava).

Іван Мазепа та його доба: історія, культура, національна пам’ять

In the world culture of ХVІІІ – ХХ centuries you will not find so many historical figures as popular as the Ukrainian hetman Ivan Mazepa. The literature, music, painting, drama theatre and later on the cinema – these are Muses who “took care” about Mazepa! His Odyssey as unique romantic hero started as if Voltaire has lightly waved his hand who in the “History of Charles ХІІ” built-up an exciting plot about the lover bind by the rival to the wild horse riding in the steppe. Then this love adventure (sure, sensibly romanced with poetic imagination) has revived in poems of George Byron and Juliusz Słowacki. And for this once Victor Hugo wrote not about the adventures of the passionate lover, but about Mazepa hetman, Cossack-kharakternyk who leaves Ukraine after lost battle together with Swedish King. Then novels, paintings, operas etc. appeared.

Cultural Mazepiana is so wealthy that it is worth of special international festivals and large comprehensive studies. Whereas, the case is somewhat different with regard to the real, historical figure of Ivan Stepanovych Mazepa, scientific study of his life and activity and the age in which context he lived and hold the hetmanship. At the times of the Russian empire and later under Soviet empire Mazepa was anathematized by church and society cursed – it was banned even to mention him, unless to confirm this anathema. It may sound ironic, but till present time there is a handful of experts-historians in the independent Ukraine who study the age of Ivan Mazepa! Provided, however, that it is a question about the hetman holding the mace since 1687 till 1709 and having left a large footprint in the history of Ukraine, namely, in the history of national culture, education and church. Mazepa was a political leader of the European scale both for his enlightenment, level of culture and for proficiency to define the strategic priorities. And that was not the easiest thing after the times of the Ruin that the arrogant dwarfs-leaders plunged our land, who had never felt the weight of the mace but just amused with it. It is the truth that people said: “there was no hetman between Bohdan and Ivan”…
We see that only today little by little the understanding is coming that the political choice made by Ivan Mazepa in autumn 1708, when he supported Charles ХІІ in the war against Peter І, did not remain just an episode of the beginning of ХVІІІ century. Since this desperate venture of the hetman, “Mazepynstvo” as the ideology of fight for state independence and national freedom traces its roots. The name of Mazepa became the symbol of the Ukrainians’ liberation struggle. Having lost Poltava battle, hetman Mazepa won finally in a deep historical sense: without “Mazepynstvo” there will be no Ukraine in its modern status as the European state. It took the long way of almost three hundred years, but the first step on this way was made namely by Mazepa.
Perception of Mazepa and his time is a long-term program for the science. This collection contains the materials which reflect one of the moments of scientific understanding of Ivan Mazepa personality and his age. The International scientific conference “Ivan Mazepa and his age: history, culture, national memory” held on 15–16 October 2008 in Kyiv and Poltava was attended by the researches from seven countries – Austria, Italy, Canada, Poland, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Sweden. The thematic variety of reports delivered by the scientists confirms the fact that Mazepa time is overwhelmingly important benchmark in political, military and cultural history of Ukraine.
The conference was held within the context of commemoration of 300-years anniversary of the events related with military and political action of the hetman Ivan Mazepa and conclusion of the Ukrainian-Swedish alliance. The conference became feasible uppermost due to the efforts of scientific institutions and social society organizations to which the Steering committee expresses its sincere acknowledgment, as well as to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine for support in publication of the conference materials.
As wished it to believe that such a meaningful scientific forum, which major events were held in the same Kyiv-Mohyla Academy where at the time being Ivan Mazepa studied and which he patronized being the hetman, will give a fresh impetus to the great research work of historians and culture experts on this invaluable heritage for Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Bryuhovets’kyi,
honorary president of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (NaUKMA), head of the steering committee of the International scientific conference “Ivan Mazepa and his age: history, culture, national memory”.

«Ivan Mazepa and his age: history, culture, national memory» (15–17 October 2008, Kyiv – Poltava) in pdfformat. The document is published under gracious consent of the authors and the publishing house.

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